London: Don’t be surprised if shipping news gravitates around the British capital next week. With more than 100 events planned during the second London International Shipping Week (LISW) there is genuinely something for everyone in shipping, whether it be topical conferences, sea shanties in Westminster Abbey or dragon boating down the Thames. However, does shipping need this avalanche of dos to attend – there’s much chatter about event fatigue these days?
Jeremy Penn, who is chairman of the LISW steering group as well as chief executive of the Baltic Exchange, insists next week is something refreshingly different from the myriad shipping events around the world.
“LISW offers a very different style,” he says, explaining it is an “ecosystem” of events built around the core conference, rather than a rigid tradeshow format in one fixed place or indeed a series of parties with no real content.
“LISW is an opportunity to learn, to do business and to plan for the next decade,” Penn says.
It is of course also a chance to remind the world of London’s shipping credentials too.
The city has come in for some stick of late – a survey from Norway’s Menon Business Economics placed London outside the top five shipping hubs in the world this May.
Penn is quick to point, however, to another study, one conducted by the Baltic Exchange with Chinese state media organ Xinhua, which places London first for maritime business services and second overall behind Singapore in a ranking which takes in physical port activity as well as business infrastructure.
Penn also dismisses the severity of the recent decision by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to quit ship finance.
“There is a lot of shipping finance activity in London with or without RBS,” he says, adding: “As with many aspects of the UK economy, it is having the business here, not the nationality of the shareholders, which counts.”
Maritime CEO and sister title, Splash, will be reporting live from LISW all next week.